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August 14th – A very big day!

We made it!

After 6,095 kms of riding, I made it to Mile 0 in Victoria and then a final dip of my wheel into the Pacific!

What an amazing ride this has been. I was filled with many emotions when I biked toward the Pacific, and knew that the journey was coming to an official end. I am so thankful for Dave, and the love and support he provided throughout this entire journey, and how that made it possible for me to complete this adventure. I am also so very grateful to the family and friends who joined us along the way, and biked with me and/or provided support during the ride. You, too, made this possible. Team Gog Rocks!

This ride has been fascinating on many levels, and I learned a great deal about myself. Above all, I am humbled by those we have met who have been affected by Alzheimer’s in their own lives, as well as by those who gave so generously to our cause and supported us in so many ways along our route. Thank you!

Finally, and most importantly, I dedicate this ride to the memory of my Mom. I love you!




As of August 13th:

Today, Tony and I biked from Lake Cowichan, past Port Renfrew, to French Beach Provincial Park on a portion of the Pacific Marine Circle Route on Vancouver Island. It was, without a doubt, the most beautiful ride I have done in B.C. It truly had a spiritual quality to it, and I used that opportunity to remember my Mom and how thankful, and blessed I am, to have had her in my life. What an amazing woman she was, and what a gift this trip has been to be able to remember the good times with her.

As of today, I have biked a total of 6,025 kms. As we were riding to our destination, Tony and I stopped at Jordon River, the most westerly point that I will actually pass on this trip, and took a photo as I dipped my foot into the Pacific Ocean. All I could think of was - I am almost there!




As of August 10th:

On August 7th, we made it to Rock Creek, B.C., just East of Osoyoos, when the air quality just became too poor to continue due to the forest fires burning in numerous places around the province. When we reviewed the weather and wind forecasts, we realized that not much was expected to change over the next few days. With that in mind, we made the decision to take the ferry over to Vancouver Island, and head north so that we could bike back to Victoria from up island, in the hopes that the air quality would be better on the island.

We met with a bit of a challenge in trying to find a campground last evening but finally succeeded in finding a spot at Miracle Beach Provincial Park. With that as our base for two nights, we decided to bike north to Campbell River and back today. Dave joined us for the ride, and although the air quality was not perfect this morning, we all really enjoyed the ride by the shoreline. Today’s ride has brought my total to 5697 kms, which has brought me that much closer to my revised goal of riding over 6,000 kms on this adventure.



Campbell River, B.C.

As of August 5th:

We are at Day 76 of the journey and made it to Christina Lake this afternoon after riding just over 71 kms. It was an interesting day of riding, with a bit of excitement thrown in when a passing motorist informed us that he had spotted a bear on the road not too far in front of us. I have to admit that Tony was much happier about that information than I was! In fact, he was rather disappointed when we did not see the bear. I did not share his disappointment!

On a different note, today was my first sustained climb in the Rockies. Tony was great to ride with, and we just put the bikes in low gear and kept a relatively steady pace up the incline. We stopped every five kms for a short breather, and soon enough we made the Paulson Summit (height of 1,535 metres). Once there, we enjoyed a break with Dave. We met a fellow cyclist who was kind enough to take a photo of the three of us to mark the occasion. This rest was followed by my first sustained downhill. Truth be told, I think I can honestly say I prefer going up rather than coming down.


Seely Alder atop Paulson Summit in Alberta

As of August 2nd:

Last night we had a wonderful time. Tony and I rode to Cranbrook, where we met up with our support crew at the local Tim Horton’s. We loaded our bikes onto the cars and then proceeded to head to Kimberley, B.C., where all five of us stayed with fellow cyclists Rawley and Cynthia. It was so much fun talking to them about some of their cycling adventures and the evening flew by.

Early this morning our group left our new friends and travelled back to Cranbrook so Tony and I could resume our route. We had a great day of riding and are now in Creston, B.C. The views in B.C. have been spectacular and the riding has been great – minus the flats I have continued to be plagued with! Oh well... At this point I have just over 5,300 kms of riding under my belt. Tomorrow will find us riding up to Kootenay Bay and then taking a ferry over to Balfour. It is supposed to be a very beautiful ride next to the lake, with mountains in the background and I am really looking forward to it.


As of July 30th:

We bid our farewells to my brother, his wife, their son and their dog last night, as we had an early start today. I have to admit that it was hard to say goodbye to them after sharing an amazing week together. However, it was time to continue the journey.

Our friends from Victoria joined us while we were enjoying some rest time in Waterton, and today had Tony and I bike from Waterton to Blairmore, Alberta, for 94 kms. That brings my grand total to 5,035 kms travelled by bike in 70 days of being on the road.

We enjoyed the ride through Crowsnest Pass, as the grade of the road was not too intimidating and the views of the mountains were truly beautiful. It is wild to think that tomorrow I will enter the final province of this trip. I know that I have many climbs in front of me, yet I am savouring this moment, as I have tried to do every day of this adventure.

As of July 28th:

This past week we have been riding with the ‘Alberta Contingent’ of family and friends who joined us for this leg of the journey. After seven weeks on our own, it has been great to have others with us. We played, laughed, caught up with one another and have had so much fun.

As has happened numerous times on this journey, we altered our route a bit in order to visit some interesting locations. One such site was the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, which is a night sky preserve in Saskatchewan. It was beyond words to look up and see so many amazing stars unimpeded by city lights.

The second location we altered our route for was the Writing On-Stone Provincial Park in southern Alberta. While there, our group went for a guided tour through the HooDoos, which is a very spiritual place for the Blackfoot Indians. It was fascinating to see all of the rock paintings and carvings from an era long since past.

We are now in Waterton Springs Campground and over the last 24 hours, have started to say goodbye to our Alberta contingent. I cannot thank them enough for biking with me for just over 500 kms of this journey. It has been rejuvenating and fun!



As of July 19th:

We are in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park on the Saskatchewan side and enjoying a few rest days. To date I have covered 4,411 kms. One of the questions I have been asked is what do I think about when I am alone on the road. I am never bored and think about all kinds of things. I have been enjoying some wonderful memories of my Mom when we were all younger and that has been good for me. Beyond that, my mind wanders. However, I always say ‘Hi’ to any animals I see along my route. The funniest is when I talk to cows. They are definitely curious creatures and appear quite fascinated by me and what I am doing. Often, once I say hello, the whole herd will look up and will walk toward the fence and just stare at me as I pass. Sometimes though, they want to be a bit more interactive. Two days ago, I spoke to a herd and the whole group decided to pace me and ran alongside as I biked by. They soon lost interest but it was fun while it lasted. I have to take my entertainment where I can get it!

As of July 14th:

We made it to Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, after a gruelling day of riding. It was only an 83-km ride but the headwinds and heat were brutal. Dave was wonderful though and stopped every 10 kms along the route so I could rehydrate and take a break from the sun. It really was the only way I could make it through the day!

One of the things we have noticed along this journey is how the ‘fortunes’ of the area impact the vitality, or lack thereof, of the towns we have passed. Case in point: during the ride yesterday, we stopped on the Red Coat Trail and saw a plaque on a stone that represented the last remnants of the town of Forward. It was wild to realize that the town had been incorporated, and then dismantled, within the span of one generation. It made us realize how tenuous things can be.

On a different note, last evening at our campsite in Ogema I was harassed by a prairie dog looking for handouts. He was persistent, that’s for sure. He was so cute though that I had to include a picture of him.







As of July 12th:

We are in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. To date I have biked 3,921 kms. I am soon on track to top 4,000 kms! We are slowly making our way across the province, being mindful of the hot temperatures, numerous threats of thunder and lightening storms, and potential tornadoes.

We enjoyed a great rest day yesterday in Estevan, Saskatchewan, and enjoyed our visit to a museum focused on the North West Mounted Police, a precursor to the RCMP. As we continue our trek west, we plan on following the Red Coat Trail, the route the North West Mounted Police took many years ago.

We continue to meet many wonderful and friendly people who have been supportive of our adventure and whose families have been affected by Alzheimer’s.






As of July 8th

Every day has been an adventure and yesterday was a great example of that. Mid-morning, Dave and I enjoyed a stop in Manitou, Manitoba. We chatted with Walter and Bette Mueller, caretakers for the local log cabin museum. After enjoying our visit, we headed to Crystal City. While there, we found out about nearby roadworks and were given an alternate route. Unfortunately, I obviously did not understand the starting point and ended up right in the thick of things. The road crew was great but no bikes were allowed. I really did not know where I was and the crew was from Saskatchewan. So I put my bike on the back of the construction truck and they drove me through the road works (eight kilometres).
 
Once back on Highway 3, I made my way to Cartwright, Manitoba, where we were the only ones initially booked for the night in the municipal campground. We met a number of locals that evening as we enjoyed a nearby baseball game. One of those locals was Vicky, a reporter for the newspaper that has been in her family since 1899. She was interested in our journey and we had a lovely chat. Dave and I were enjoying ourselves - until we realized the water was no longer working in the park. When Vicky realized we were without water, she offered for us to stay at her home. What a lovely treat! Although we found out later the water had been inadvertently turned off by some children at the game, we were by then happily ensconced at Vicky’s and enjoyed our evening with her. Once again, we have benefited greatly from the kindness of strangers on this journey and it has been a pleasure getting to know them.

 
 



As of July 4th:

We have learned that the key to this journey is to remain flexible! I started the day biking from Beausejour, Manitoba, on my way south. Then, I found myself in a thunderstorm. Dave stopped for me so that I could wait out the storm, which was great. When things started to look better I set off again, albeit with a heightened awareness that the weather was perhaps not going to remain in my favour. With that in mind, I biked an average of 25 to 28 km/h (my usual is about 20 km/h!). Then the weather did get worse and I found myself in the middle of thunderstorms to the left and to the right of me. At that point, Dave picked me up and we put the bike on the back of the car. We were about 2 kms outside of a small town called Ste. Anne and we decided to get a motel in town so that we could wait out the storm. At this point, there is a severe thunderstorm warning for the rest of today, but tomorrow looks very favourable so I will resume my way south.


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As of July 3rd:

We are enjoying a rest day in Beausejour, Manitoba. Well, "enjoy" is an interesting term. Dave and I had to repair a couple of tubes this morning (I had two flats yesterday) and I am currently in a local laundromat. Such is life on the road for us. It is hard to believe that we have been on the road for 43 days and that I have biked a total of 3215.9 kms so far. My longest riding day was from Dryden to Kenora, Ontario, at 142 kms. I had a bit of everything that day – sunshine, about 20 kms of road construction for which I had to ride on gravel shoulders, rain, thunder and lightening (the key is to just keep riding as the rubber tires act as an insulator), torrential rain and more sunshine. I was very happy to make it to Kenora!

From Kenora we entered into Manitoba and stayed in a little motel in West Hawk Lake and enjoyed the July 1st festivities on TV. It was fun and very relaxing. The next day brought us to Beausejour and a much-needed rest after 6 days in a row of riding, with 623 kms covered in that time.

Starting tomorrow we will work our way south of the province.




As of June 29th:

It was raining this morning so we decided to start later and began our journey just after noon hour. It was a bit weird to start so late but I was still able to get a full day of biking in. We arrived in Dryden around supper time, after having ridden 105 kms today. Although the day started out dreary, the last 30 kms were lovely, with a sunny sky and a wide shoulder.

We have been in some smaller locations lately and we have not always had WiFi connection. However, we truly are so grateful to have people following us. Have a great time celebrating Canada Day!




As of June 27th:

We are currently in Upsala, Ontario. My total distance biked so far is 2,678 kms. Today I biked 87 kms of the route and then Dave drove me the rest of the way. I am still struggling with the roads and the lack of a wide shoulder.

On a different note, we both enjoyed our rest day in Thunder Bay. We took the opportunity to visit the Terry Fox memorial. What a truly inspirational man he was. He was absolutely a champion in the fight against cancer, and I have thought about his journey and his marathon of hope often over the last few days.




As of June 24th:

I have benefited greatly from having the last couple of days off. Dave and I drove from Sault Ste. Marie to the town of Terrace Bay, Ontario. With my mind, body and spirits in better shape, I rode 108 kilometres from Terrace Bay to Nipigon. The traffic was light, which was perfect. It was quite a day, with numerous hills, but beautiful vistas of Lake Superior from the tops of the inclines.

Sunday we will work our way toward a campground in Thunder Bay, where we plan to stay for a couple of nights.






As of June 21st:

One of the main focuses to this ride is to promote health and maintain safety. When I planned out this journey, my intent was to focus on using secondary roads across the country, rather than main arteries. Unfortunately, there are no feasible alternate routes through Ontario other than the Trans-Canada Highway 17, and the 17 is definitely not fun to ride on. Since we entered Ontario, I have biked just over 594 kilometres in this province, and have been stressed the whole time due to very small shoulders (if any at all), and trucks and other large vehicles passing very closely, at very high speeds. Dave and I had already made the decision that we would stay in Canada for the duration of the ride. So today, a couple of hours into my planned route, we jointly made the decision that it would be prudent for me to stop riding on the 17, at least for a few days. We will reassess the route further northwest to see if it improves, and that’s where I will pick up the ‘trail.’

I am absolutely continuing the journey! I just am not sure exactly where I will restart. For sure I will be riding through Manitoba westwards, and hopefully some more of Ontario before that. I truly am in awe of those cyclists who bike on these roads as they traverse the country, but for me this is a decision based on safety.




As of June 20th:

We are in Iron Bridge, Ont.,, and I have biked a total of 2,339 kilometres so far (35 per cent of the route). We expect to get to Sault Ste. Marie tomorrow. I am constantly thankful that I have such wonderful support for this adventure. On the way into Sudbury on the 17th, I experienced a flat tire (my third so far). Dave was great, and when he got back to me, we simply switched the bike for the other one. It really has been perfect to have the two bikes.

We enjoyed a wonderful rest day with Dave’s childhood friend, Susan. Friendships are precious, and it was really nice to be able to spend time with her. We also played 'tourist' in Sudbury, and went to visit the nickel mine for a tour – what fun! Neither one of us had ever been in a mine before.



On my ride today, just as I entered the motel driveway, I experienced my fourth flat. Again, I was so lucky to have Dave as my support. He took over, and made the necessary repairs.



As of June 15th:

We enjoyed our last night in Quebec on the 13th. We stayed at a lovely Inn in a small town called Fort-Coulogne. It was one of those hidden gems that we would never have encountered if we had not been going on the smaller roads on our way out west. Jane, the owner of the Inn was very gracious, and told us about her great-grandfather who had been a ‘force to reckon with’ in the town, and really helped to build it up. From our discussions, I can see that she has the same gumption as her grandfather, as she is doing much for her community as well.




We are currently in Mattawa Ontario. I have completed almost 1948 km’s of riding, for 29.1% of the ride. Soon after entering Ontario, I decided to switch bikes and use Dave’s comfort hybrid instead of my touring bike. That has worked well, and I have enjoyed switching things up.




As of June 12th:


Although we enjoy camping, we also truly enjoy the oasis provided by support from family and friends along the way. With that in mind, we are enjoying another rest day with our new friend Biba Lebel in Aylmer, Quebec. Yesterday was a bit of the ‘good, the bad and the ugly’ on our way to our destination. The ‘good’ is that Quebec has a wonderful bike path system. Not only do they have the ‘route verte’ denoting designated paths across the province, they also have bike lanes on most of the main roads. It makes it a pleasure to ride. We have seen many people of various ages enjoying the cycling here. It reminds us that if the infrastructure is there, it is much easier for people to stay active – which of course is good for your health! The ‘bad’ was that I encountered my second flat of the ride, but Dave is getting very good at changing tubes, so it wasn’t too long before I was back on the road again. The ‘ugly’ was that it was very hot yesterday, and I faced headwinds for most of the 112 kms (in 7 hours) I travelled!





As of June 9th:


We have had a great few days since last we checked in. Through a mutual friend, we met Don and Claudette in Quebec City. They are fellow cyclists, who graciously opened their home to us for two nights. Through conversation with them, we made a modification to our route, which brought us to Laval one day earlier than originally planned, along relatively quiet roads. It is always nice to use the insight of other cyclists, and to benefit in having the buffer of an extra day, in case we meet up with bad weather along the way.




So far, I have biked just over 1436 km’s (21.4%). I am feeling strong on the bike, yet also reveling in our rest day today in Laval with our good friend Gail. We will start our journey again tomorrow, as we head towards Montebello, and perhaps towards our first night of camping. The weather has not previously been conducive to camping, but we have high hopes that summer is finally here!



As of June 3rd - remembering the last 36 hours:

Yesterday we biked from Rimouski to Riviere-du-Loup - what a day! The head winds were ferocious, and our speed was slow! We were on the road for about 10 hours, with a good 8 hours of that time spent biking. For all that we were exhausted, Diana and I were not the only ones facing unexpected circumstances. Our blue Honda Fit had some major issues, and could not be resuscitated! So, Dave had to deal with that, and the outcome, is that we are now the proud owners of a new to us used white Honda Fit. It really is a nice car, and it has some added features that we did not have before. The staff at the Honda Dealership were wonderful to deal with. They were intrigued as to what we were up to, and when they found out that Dave was acting as support crew for the cross-country bike ride, they told us that it touched a cord with them, as the two previous owners of the dealership had both had Alzheimer's. They are now going to follow our journey on this blog - which is awesome.



Then today, we biked to Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, which is a beautiful town along the Saint Lawrence River. Once we made it to our motel, we made a toast with our friends. It was the last day of their journey with us. I cannot begin to express how wonderful it was to have Diana and Kyle with us for the first 13 days. It was like a booster to get me started!





As of June 1st:

We are currently in Rimouski, Quebec. After today’s ride, we have completed just shy of 837 km’s, or 12.5% of the total. Both Diana and I are feeling good so far, which is great. Although we have had some ‘character building days’ in terms of weather and wind we have faced, we are still maintaining a fairly good pace, and our positive outlooks! The days have been going by quickly, especially when the guys come back to bike us in at the end of our ride.




Today turned out to be a rather special day. It is amazing the things that can trigger memories. For me, it was seeing a field of cows, and remembering how much my Mom loved cows. Not really sure why she did, but she did. So, I had to stop to take a picture, and in that moment, I had some amazing feelings. My Mom may be gone, but she surely is not forgotten. That was one of my personal reasons for doing this trip, i.e., to allow the wonderful memories to return. Today was definitely a very good day!



As of May 27th:



The first six days of the trip have already been memorable. May 22nd was a lovely day all around. My friend Diana, who is biking with me for the first 1000 km’s, and her husband Kyle, who is her support crew, met us at Point Pleasant Park in downtown Halifax. We were cheered on by many friends as we dipped our back wheels into the Atlantic Ocean before heading off for Truro.

The next day we made our way to the coast of NS, and from there have been slowly working our way up the coast of NB. We are currently in the Miramichi, with 432 km’s under our belts, which translates into approximately 6.5% of my overall journey.



We have met some wonderful people along our route, who have been beyond curious about why we are doing this journey, yet at the same time very supportive. I have truly enjoyed travelling on the smaller roads, as we are seeing places we would never have visited before. There is so much to see and enjoy in this country, and I am savoring every moment!



Seely's first message - May 20, 2017:

We are about to embark on an adventure that will take us from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia. Our journey will have me biking about 6900 km’s through portions of 8 Provinces and 3 States. Dave will be my support crew, with the car and all of our camping gear, as well as his bike so that he can join me at the end of the day and bike me to our campsite or motel.

We wanted to do this journey in support of the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, as our family, just like many others, has been affected by the disease. My Mom was diagnosed in 2011, and for a long time benefited from the medications. The research that developed those drugs is supported by the Alzheimer Society, which is one reason why I feel strongly about wanting to give something back to them. Dave and I also benefited directly from the Society by taking their educational program to help family members understand the stages and progression of the disease.

Last Updated: 08/17/17
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